Canadian Physiotherapy Association (2015) reports that 1 in 3 elderly Canadians (ages 65 and older) fall each year. Of those, 50% will suffer moderate to severe injuries that can permanently reduce their mobility and independence.
Almost all of these incidents are predictable and preventable. Studies show the risk of falls can be reduced by half by modifying the home and reducing hazards in the community (Canadian Physiotherapy Association, 2015).
The following is a list of tips compiled by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (2015) to reduce the risk of falling:
- Wear a good pair of lace-up walking shoes that will support your feet and provide necessary cushioning for your joints;
- Avoid high heels, slippers, and open-toed sandals, which can cause you to trip;
- Use aids for walking, balancing, hearing and seeing – view them as sources of strength to help you do things, not signs of weakness;
- In winter, sprinkle kitty litter or salt and sand to the curb. It might also help to sprinkle some on the snow/ice before getting out of the car
- Make sure the tips on canes and crutches are large and spiked for icy conditions; however, remove the spikes as soon as you enter a building
- Sit rather than stand while dressing;
- When moving from lying to sitting, wait 10 seconds before rising. When moving from sitting to standing wait 10 seconds before moving away from a bed, chair or toilet;
- Install handrails and grab-bars in the stairways and bathrooms;
- Make sure stairways are well lit. install a night light at the top of the stairs;
- Immediately wipe up any spills, especially on ceramic floors;
- Avoid taking unnecessary risks like standing on furniture. Instead, use a sturdy stepladder, or ask for help;
- Plant both feet securely on the ground before getting out of the car;
- Put everyday items on a shelf at eye level;
- Manage medications properly
- Be mindful around pets. Feet can easily get caught in leashes and dogs can knock you down.
Resource: Canadian Physiotherapy Association. (2015). Preventing falls. Physiotherapy practice, 5(6).